Toon enjoy promotion party
A Kevin Nolan volley ensured that Newcastle capped their promotion celebrations with a 2-1 win over Sheffield United.
Last Updated: 06/04/10 12:47pm
A second-half strike from Kevin Nolan ensured that Newcastle capped their promotion celebrations with a 2-1 win over Sheffield United.
The Magpies had their return to the Premier League confirmed before kick-off as Nottingham Forest could only manage a draw against Cardiff.
But the Blades threatened to be party poopers when Richard Cresswell's header flew towards goal and was deflected into the net by his opportunistic strike partner Darius Henderson.
Newcastle recovered from their sluggish start and drew level when they were awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Chris Morgan was adjudged to have held Andy Carroll from a corner and Peter Lovenkrands clinically dispatched the spot-kick.
Both teams had chances in the second half but it was the hosts who gained the decisive advantage when Nolan smashed a spectacular volley into the net.
Newcastle manager Chris Hughton congratulated his players and staff on the pitch as they warmed up, but then the focus turned swiftly to the business of securing the Championship title.
However, they were made to work throughout by a Blades side who arrived on Tyneside with the aim of boosting their play-off hopes with a victory.
Wayne Routledge should have done better when he was played in by Nolan early on, but he could not hit the target, although Cresswell was also guilty of a similar miss at the other end.
But Cresswell made amends five minutes later when he met James Harper's corner with a glancing header, which Henderson appeared to deflect in on the line, as the Magpies conceded just their 10th league goal at St James' Park this season.
Routledge, Carroll and Lovenkrands all went close in a flurry of activity before the half-time whistle, but Newcastle got themselves back on terms just as the interval approached.
Referee Andy Hall pointed to the spot after Morgan wrestled with Carroll as Danny Guthrie's corner came in.
Lovenkrands calmly stepped up and sent goalkeeper Steve Simonsen the wrong way from the spot to level with his 15th goal of the season.
Just as they had done in the first half, the Blades started strongly after the break with the home side misfiring until Lovenkrands smashed a stinging shot just over on the hour.
The Dane had a glorious chance to give the Magpies the lead three minutes later after being played in by full-back Jose Enrique, but he fired wide with just Simonsen to beat.
Jonas Gutierrez went agonisingly close with 20 minutes to play when he sped past Nyron Nosworthy and cut inside, only to see Simonsen brilliantly tip his shot onto the foot of the post.
But the breakthrough finally came two minutes later when Lovenkrands headed down Danny Simpson's ball to Nolan, who acrobatically blasted it home to also take his tally to 15.
Guthrie might have made certain of the points with 80 minutes gone, but Simonsen again produced a great save, although the party among a crowd of almost 50,000 was already well underway.